Spiny oyster shell beads provide bright red, orange, and purple hues that work great with current fashion trends! These semiprecious beads also offer great textural elements for jewelry applications. Spiny oyster shell is more formally called spondylus brodnip princeps, and is found in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico. Spondylus is a Latin word meaning "spines on its back." Brodnip is the name of the scientist who traveled with Cortez on his exploration of Baja California. This semiprecious "gemstone" was used in jewelry before coral. It was the shell most loved by the Mayan people, and has been found in abundance in archeological excavations of the Anasazi, Mogollon and Hohokam of the Southwestern USA. In 1976, Native Americans of the Southwest began to export purple spiny oyster shells for jewelry making, popularizing their use abroad.